Editor, Daily Press:

In the wake of what many, myself included, believe to be the most important election cycle in American history, a very clear observation emerges. Over 144,000,000 American citizens voted. We stood and were counted! That’s remarkable and historic, but what do we do now?

First, I want to reach out an elbow – sadly, it can’t be my hand in today’s times – and say thank you for “standing and being counted.” As any elected or campaign alumni can tell you, that is not an easy act. This time, we, the American citizens, were not isolated from the disturbing rhetoric officials hear their entire careers.

The next act is to remind us that as all of us “stood to be counted,” we were called idiots, fools, fascists, and worse. It was as if sane discussion had no effect and shouting would get the message through. It didn’t, it won’t, and the very human condition of withdrawing from neglect and turmoil led to bunker mentality. We became enraged instead of running toward the fire, as our daily heroes do every day. We lashed out, normalizing a despicable act with family, neighbors, friends, emotionally defending ideals that require a whole lot more thought before action.

To insist blame be attached is likely to be counterproductive, but to realize you are already standing, now is a great time to be counted again. To become involved only requires you to ask how to help. That’s what a democracy thrives on. It doesn’t work when you are being told what to do. A wise and effective prominent politician once said that “all politics are local.” I suppose this is true, because even if you didn’t load your kids on a bus for school every school day, your friends likely did, and all of us paid for the service.

This act of standing works best if it is something you are familiar with: an act that has a positive result. So, “stand and be counted,” but remember the responsibility of your action, because we are neighbors, friends, family, fellow members of the community, and we stood, too, just like you.

T.R. Lewis

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

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